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A Seattle Block Party Wedding


It took a village; or at least a neighborhood

Mary & Michael

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: A community-made, laid-back Seattle block party wedding full of love, songs, poems, and laughter

Soundtrack for reading: “Heavenly Day” by Patty Griffin

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This was truly a community-made wedding. We have been living in Michael’s parents’ home for the past year as we build our own small home in the backyard of their property, so holding the wedding in what has been Michael’s neighborhood since birth, and is once again becoming our neighborhood, meant a lot to us. Everyone pitched in: a neighbor and friend across the street married us; another neighbor made hundreds of shortbread cookies as favors; our next-door neighbor did the flowers; close family friends brewed us tons of delicious beer; friends brought desserts; an artist friend created our “guestbook” balloon poster; Mary’s mother and sister sewed the banner; a friend played the music at the reception; and another friend DJed. We knew all of this was happening, but were overwhelmed with the love and support that poured out for us on the day.

We had our ceremony in our favorite Seattle park, which is just a few blocks away from our house and where the reception was held. After the ceremony, all the wedding guests paraded down the street to our block, where we had set up our wedding reception. It was a wonderful and quirky celebration to bridge the ceremony and reception together, complete with feather boas, guitars and tambourines, and funny hats.

At dusk we released about twenty fire lanterns into the sky. It was a spectacular thing to watch, and even though we nearly set a neighbor’s tree on fire, the beauty brought our whole community together in a really special way.

Even though the day was about our love and decision to pursue our future together in marriage, it was also a day about our community: our family, friends, and neighbors. It was an incredible reaffirmation that we have built a village of the most amazing people in the world around us, and their support and love was beyond moving.

Favorite Thing About the Wedding

Saying the vows we wrote together to each other in front of our loved ones, watching our fire lanterns ascend into the bluest-black sky, and dancing under Michael’s artfully mastered strings of bistro lights in our street with all our favorite people.


The Info:

Photographer: Kristina Stockton, Photo Kisses | Location: Seattle, WA | Venue: Volunteer Park (Ceremony) and the block of the couple’s street in Capitol Hill (Reception) | Mary’s Dress: J.Crew, but bought from a friend of a friend who bought it on eBay | Caterer: Madres Kitchen | Cake: Homemade by the bride and groom | Other Desserts: Homemade by friends and neighbors | Home Brewed Beer: Brewed by close family friends | Flowers: Arranged by a next-door neighbor, collected from our neighbors’ yards and the local farmers’ markets

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  • Fiona

    Holy goodness, that’s beautiful. What was the rain plan???

    • Lauren from NH

      I would love to know that too. I am kind of anti tent. If it’s a nice day why in the world would I want a tent? And you know I don’t want to pay for one…but mother nature can be moody…

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Thinking very long and hard before announcing this publicly but… we have no ‘rain plan’ and we’re SCREWED if it does. I know this is terrible and asking our guests to ‘pray for sun in lieu of gifts’ might not be the safest bet… Um, can everyone here pray for sun?

        • Lauren from NH

          Yeah some how getting rained out doesn’t scare me like maybe it should. I’m like what’s going to happen? Shit is going to get wet? No biggie, I’m not a witch, I don’t melt. If it really really pours, hide in cars for a half hour, blare some music and laugh about it. If it just won’t stop, let’s all go to the nearest bar instead and you know continue to laugh about it. That said I am thinking of going pretty minimal on the decor (you know letting nature show off), if I had put hours into paper flowers etc, I might feel differently.

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Wow, this is the most effective “calm down” speech I’ve heard in a while (and they’ve been coming at me thick and fast as of late!)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            PS. BUT WHAT IF YOU ARE A WITCH!?

          • Katherine

            I think that the need for a rain plan varies a lot by location. My recollection is that Seattle is one of those places that has a rainy season, and so there are times during the year that rain is very unlikely. Where I live in Chicago, it could pour for hours on any given day of the year. It could also be 100 degrees, 50 degrees, or 75 degrees on any random summer day, which also kind of affects outdoor wedding planning…

          • Alyssa M

            I’ve got a rain plan, my church agreed to give me the keys to the chapel last minute if need it, but honestly I feel the way you do. “I’m not a witch, I don’t melt”

            There’s a small part of me that wants a little rain… I love a good storm! But I know my guests would be wimps… :(

      • Mary

        Bride here – we didn’t have a rain plan! My mother and Mike’s mother were very worried about this, so the day before when rain was in the forecast, Mike’s uncle ran all over town buying pop up tents. We ended up using two of them for shade, and returned the rest when the wedding was over. I’d say the rain plan was the main source of stress in the planning. We thought about booking a “plan b” place, but honestly, it seemed overkill and we definitely did not have the budget for it. In the end, the sun goddesses were in our favor!

      • Fiona

        I agree. I would LOVE to go without a tent… I’m nervous about no rain plan though. Our yard will be very, very muddy if it rains, and a tent would help prevent that.

  • http://lisaathome.wordpress.com/ Lisa

    This is a dream! Honestly, the whole thing is just out of this world. Being a planner, though, I have to ask…what about bathrooms? Did guests just use the facilities in your parents’ house?

    Also, unrelated to the wedding, love that you’re building a tiny house! Are you keeping it on their property or moving it after completed? Big advocates of small space living over here. :)

    Lisa
    lisaathome.com

    • laddibugg

      Well, I suppose the neighbors could just go home :-p (but yes, I do wonder about bathroom accommodations when people post these types of affairs)

      • Liz

        M+M rented two portapotties (which were hilariously decorated with real flowers). The house bathrooms were reserved for those requiring special accommodations.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      We just rented a portapotty. (Not even the fancy kind, the festival kind…although hopefully it’ll be pretty clean through the nite!)

      I just wasn’t confident our septic tank could handle 80 guests, with varying levels of drunkness, flushing away all night… In your experience as a planner what would you say is a good person/toilet ratio?

    • Mary

      We built a permanent back yard cottage – ADU. In the grand scheme of things its not THAT small. 800 sq. ft. But its perfect – we just moved in last week! Its a project that allowed us to live in the neighborhood we love at a price we can afford.

  • Amy A.

    Lovely, lovely, lovely, all the way around. The community support is palpable through your photos, and the turquoise shoes and the excited puppy made me grin :-D Congratulations!

    • Katherine

      Those were my wedding shoes too! My photographer kept suggesting I take them off during parts of our pre-wedding photos, but they were actually super comfortable.

  • vegankitchendiaries

    Holy YES! Love this!! Another Pacific Northwest Bride here, hoping to do half as good a job as you guys… These gorgeous pictures just make me think, ‘These guys pulled it OFF!’

    Congrats!!

    PS. Bride’s dress is a velvety vanilla dream… I want to press my cheek to it’s beautiful smoothness!

  • Liz

    I was so honored to be a party of this wedding. Mary captured how special it was to have everyone pitching in and collaborating. The sense of community and togetherness just flowed through everyone in this magical way.

    Love you two and happy (nearly!) anniversary!

  • Guest

    Congratulations, wonderful dress and I think I have now found my wedding shoes so thank you thank you for that!

  • Emma Klues

    This is a breath of fresh air, delightful! Congrats!

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